Su Chin is a freelance graphic designer that I have had the immense pleasure of working. Not only is she intelligent, kind and seemingly very level-headed, she is also a badass graphic designer. Moving from New Zealand over to London, Su Chin's wide range of cultural and global influences is clear through the diversity of her work.
Visual Communication Design, Massey University, Wellington
Futerra, Freelance Senior Designer, (2018 - 2019)
ARISE, Senior Designer/Art Directer, (2015 -2018)
The Church, Senior Designer/Art Directer, (2009 -2014)
Designworks, Junior Designer, (2008)
Social Media: LinkedIn
What’s your job title?
Senior Designer / Art Director
What does a day at work for you look like?
– My days start with yoga, reading and coffee!
– Work start & finish times vary depending on who I’m contracting with, usually around 9am to 6pm.
– For me, mornings are the best for problem solving and coming up with ideas. I’ll usually work independently until lunch, could be going over briefs/client feedback, generating ideas, developing and refining design. There’ll be meetings as well, and If I’m overseeing junior members of the team I’ll be touching base with them too.
In the afternoons I get around the studio, check in with the Creative Director and anyone else I’m collaborating with to outwork the project. A blend between independent & team work :)
Overseeing design projects, from conceptual to delivery. It’s generally multidisciplinary - working on print, digital and experiential. With branding it’s super diverse and I’m generally collaborating with strategists, writers photographers, illustrators, developers etc.
How did you become a freelancer?
I’ve freelanced on the side for most of my working life, but going full time was quite scary!
I loved the consistency of a permanent role but really wanted explore working with wider variety agencies and clients, and be exposed to a range of creative approaches.
I spent a while putting my portfolio together and got in touch a few recommended agents.
I also reached out to a few of my favourite companies directly. Friends have been amazing at putting me in touch with people looking for freelancers, that’s been a big part of how I’ve been connected with studios as well. I’m always asking lots of questions whenever I meet other designers, but I haven’t really ever intentionally gone out to network.
Do you need a degree for your job?
I don’t think everyone needs a degree to practice design, but I personally loved university and would recommend it if you have access to a good degree.
The most valuable thing I got out of uni was how to question, analyse and problem solve.
In the first 6 months of my degree — we weren’t allowed to use the computer and could only cut and paste using grids, scissors and the photocopier. We had to be precious about what we put on the blank page and think hard about the composition before gluing. That discipline has absolutely informed how I approach my work today.
The theory side of art and design history was super interesting too. I think it’s important know where we have been in order to create for the future. You can do that without a degree but studying with others was the fun part.
What would you say is the best part of your job?
The variety and collaboration. Every brief comes with a unique set of problems to solve, brands are constantly needing to evolve — so you are always having to adapt and learn new things. I love it! And you get to work alongside super talented and inspiring people.
What would you say is the most challenging part of your job?
Trying to crack a strong idea.
Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed by work, and if so, how do you manage stress?
Not too often, but if I am it’s usually because I’m not getting enough sleep or eating properly.
Sometimes it’s due to a mix of multiple deadlines and challenging clients, so I try to focus on one thing at a time and break it down into smaller steps. It’s the nature of the job too, so it helps to remember it’s only temporary and is all part of the process.
What would you advice people like yourself aiming to apply for your position?
Be curious, be humble and listen more than you speak.
To quote Anthony Burrill - ‘Work hard and be nice to people’.